Cambridge Suffragettes damn the Liberals as Frauds in Market Hill open meeting. 1912.


Transcribed from the Cambridgeshire Collection’s Newspaper Archive in the Central Library, this is from the Cambridge Daily News featuring Cambridge’s local Suffragette organiser, Olive Bartells.

“The Women’s Social and Political Union, the militant organisation of which Mrs Pankhurst is the head, are organising a campaign which will culminate in a meeting on December 12th to be addressed by the famous leader herself. [This ultimately took place in March 1913 – I’ve transcribed a report from that meeting here]

“Miss [Olive] Bartels, in an introductory speech said that what the women were working for was that men and women workers should have equal chances. The stronger sex – the men – had the vote to protect them, whilst the women had to struggle on in the best way they could. The average wage of a man was twice that of a woman, and with their votes the men had been able to bring pressure to bear on the Government. The state interfered a great deal with children nowadays, and they wanted the women to have something to say in the making of the laws which were connected with the education of children. She had pleasure in introducing Miss Brackenbury to the meeting. [Marie Brackenbury – Suffragette whose 80 year old mother, Hilda was jailed for smashing windows in support of the Suffragettes’ campaign].

“In the course of an interesting and eloquent address Miss Brackenbury said it was often remarked that women ought to mind their own business, and not address meetings of that character. Well, they wanted to mind their own business, and that was the reason they wanted the vote. Had not they better let the women mind that part of their business which affected them? Men were naturally full of their own affairs: they could not mind both businesses – their own and the women’s.

“All the way along, said the speaker, they had been looking for honest in the present Government [Asquith’s Liberal Party] but they had not found it. It was a well-known principle that Government should be by the consent of the people, but they had found nothing but a fraud. The Liberals were the greatest frauds of all. They had voted themselves £400 a year, whilst the Cabinet Ministers were paid £5,000 a year. The Government made the laws and said they were not going to consult the women. They talked about the views of the people. Who were the people? Who were the country?

“To them, the word “People” meant the electors. The Government did not know what honesty was, and they never would know until the women taught them. She urged that this fight was a fight for a human right – a fight which the women had fought before. Women had stood up for the men in their great demand for the right, and was it not fair that the men should stand up for the women?

“It was not that the women wanted to govern the country, said Miss Brackenbury: it was that they wanted the time to come when men and women could govern the affairs of men and women. She was proud to belong to a militant society which had roused the country up to think about this question.”

Source: The Cambridgeshire Collection.


121012 Suffragettes in Cambridge Olive Bartells

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